THE STORY OF THE LOTUS EATERS
About 3000 years ago, the poet Homer told a story about a man called Odysseus and his voyage home to Greece following the Trojan Wars. Odysseus and his men met up with many exciting adventures along the way, but the most relevant to us is the story of his landing on the Island of the Lotus Eaters.
The island was so beautiful that Odysseus wanted to stay there a while and rest up. So he sent a couple of scouts to see if the natives were friendly. Odysseus waited and waited, but the scouts never returned.
What had happened was this: the scouts had indeed met up with the locals, the Lotus Eaters, who turned out to be very friendly. The Lotus Eaters even shared their food with the scouts. But the food — the lotus — was a kind of dope, and the scouts got wasted from it and forgot all about Odysseus, their mission, getting back to Greece...everything. All they wanted to do was hang out, eat lotus, and get high.
Lucky for them, Odysseus came and dragged them kicking and screaming back to the ship. He tied them to their seats and ordered the crew to row like hell, in case anyone else might eat the lotus and forget the way home.
The story of Odysseus is about more than just a Greek guy in a boat. It's about the journey people take through life and the obstacles they meet along the way. The story of the Lotus Eaters speaks particularly to us dopeheads. As addicts, we were stuck in a Lotus Land; we forgot our mission; we forgot the other adventures that awaited us; we forgot about going home.
Luckily, we each had within us our own Odysseus, our own Higher Power, which grabbed us by the collar and threw us back into the boat. So now we're rowing like hell. We may not know what's going to come next, but we're back on our way through life again.
Adapted from the
July, 1991 issue of
A New Leaf